Skip to main content

Full text of "Industries for the feeble-minded and imbecile : a hand-book for teachers"

See other formats

















1 Hi 



"■ i; ;- : -: ■ :■ ■• ■'■ 
1 ill ' ■ 1 ! 











■ ■■.■:: 













" ; ■'.';«■->■/>■:■•■: ■.'.'• ■ ■ 



' ■■ 





5HB! Wall 













B •- 8 ' 



■ ! :I i 




<'■■ I 








Hi H 









M ;■■-,■ ;,■■ 





; . ■■•• - 

8 HA 



MlM • ' .■ ' 




Walter E. Fernald 
State School 

Waverley, Massachusetts 

no. 3 13 *SL 







Massachusetts School 
for Feeble Minded. 


r <. ' ' CRAF*F£MASTER 


L, AAA4 I t '*W 

\ " r i a 


Reprinted, March, 19 14 



HTHE following pages have been written by 
Mr. A. Bickmore, who for the past ten 
years has been Craftsmaster and Clerk of the 
Works at Darenth Industrial Colony, an insti- 
tution for feeble-minded and imbecile patients 
of all ages. 

During these ten years the Colony, which 
started in a small way, has increased to the 
large dimensions described in the book. Thus 
Mr. Bickmore has had an experience in the 
development of industrial work and in the 
methods of training the mentally deficient 
which I venture to say has fallen to the lot 
of few others in any part of the world. 


His object in writing the book is to give 
to others as far as possible the benefit of his 
experience, and to assist trainers in the various 
methods of teaching which are practised. 

The book in some parts enters into technical 
details, which probably will only be understood 
by teachers skilled in the various trades, but, 
taken as a whole, it should appeal to every- 
one who is interested in the training of the 


Medical Superintendent, 

October, 191 3. 




A Short History of Darenth Indus- 
trial Colony 4 

Advice to those commencing Industries 8 

Mixed Grades in Workshops ... 19 

The Training Staff 20 

Conclusion 25 

Carpenter's Shop . . . . . 28 
Bookbinding, Envelope and Box-making 31 
Brush-making . . . . * -36 

Basket-making 42 

Shoe-making and Repairing . .46 

Fibre Mat Making 47 

Wool-rug Making . . . . .51 
Tin-smith -53 




{continued) — 

Tailor's Shop 56 

Upholstering, Mattress-making, etc. . 57 

Printing 59 

Needlework 61 

House-painting and Decorating . . 62 

Building and Outdoor Work. . . 63 

Wood-chopping and Bundling . . 65 



Bookbinding 30 

Carpenter's Shop 32 

Needlework and Stocking-making . .38 

Basket-making . 42 

Printing 48 

Brush- and Rug-making . . . -50 
Tinsmiths .... . 52 

Brush-making 56 

Envelope and Box-making . . . .60 

Mattress-making 62 

Building Work 64 





At the present time, when the care and 
control of the mentally defective are so 
prominently before the public eye, I venture 
to place before those who are likely to have 
the care and teaching of these people my 
experience of fourteen years' close connection 
with this class of patient, and also of eighteen 
years' association and labour with the class 
from which the patients cared for by the 
Poor Law Authorities spring. 

The passing of the Mental Deficiency Bill 
will no doubt prove the need of providing 
suitable employment for these people when 
they are gathered into the various homes 


and institutions which will have to be pro- 
vided for them. 

In past years the members of the Metro- 
politan Asylums Board had been studying 
the question of employment for the feeble- 
minded and imbecile, and about ten years 
ago resolved to attempt to give the patients 
practical teaching in various trades and 
industries. The result is to be seen at 
Darenth Industrial Colony, Dartford, Kent, 
controlled by the Metropolitan Asylums 
Board, of which Institution Dr. A. Rotherham, 
M.A., M.B., B.C.Cantab., is the head. The 
Institution accommodates over 2000 patients, 
both feeble-minded and imbecile, and has 
been visited during the past nine years by 
people from all over the world, who have 
expressed themselves as being astounded 
at the cheerfulness and industry displayed 
by the patients who a few years ago were 
considered hopeless. 

This great change has been brought about by 
sound common-sense methods adapted to the 
varying needs of the patients employed. It 
has been proved that to teach even the 
normal boy or girl to make articles which 
can be put to no real use is labour thrown 

away. Much more so does this fact apply to 
the mentally afflicted. Therefore, in my 
opinion, it is useless to continue teaching 
kindergarten methods after the patients have 
reached twelve years of age, and these methods 
should be superseded by practical teaching in 
making articles which the patients see in 
every-day use for domestic or other pur- 

My experience is that a boy or girl learns 
more from the age of twelve to sixteen years 
than he or she is likely to do after that 
age, when matters other than work begin to 
occupy their attention. Thoroughly interest 
them in their early years and they are not 
nearly so likely to generate the vicious habits 
which are peculiar to these people after 
reaching a later age. It will no doubt be 
found that a large number of the people who 
are likely to come under control are they who, 
when asked what work they have previously 
done, answer, " Helped at home." This is a 
difficult class of patient to deal with. They 
have generally led dull, purposeless lives 
with very little to interest them or occupy 
their minds, for the feeble-minded, in games 
or amusements, as in industries, have no 

initiative, and they are usually kept at home 
until they get beyond control or are dangerous 
to others, and an age has been reached when 
it is very difficult for them to make a start 
in any industry. 

A Short History of Darenth Industrial 


The growth of our Colony from small 
beginnings has been a remarkable work. In 
commencing the industries use was made of 
any odd rooms available in the basements, 
and the shifts that were made in the way of 
equipment so as not to involve any outlay 
until we had justified ourselves were many 
and curious. One instance stands out promi- 
nently in my memory. We had just com- 
menced brush-making, and the material we 
had purchased did not, I suppose, exceed in 
value five pounds. To commence the pan or 
set work, that is, inserting the bristle into the 
stock or woodwork with pitch, we rigged up 
an old meat-tin supported on two bricks upon 
a rough bench, and carried a rubber tube with 
a Bunsen burner attached from the nearest 
gas-bracket to the underside of the meat-tin 

and so made a pan-bench and set our first 
broom. From such small beginnings did our 
brush-making industry spring. In the first 
year (1905) the number of brooms and 
brushes made was about seven hundred, in 
191 2 our output was thirty thousand five 
hundred (30,500), and we keep a stock of 
brush-making material valued at ^900. 

In the case of all the other industries now 
carried on a start was made under similar 
disadvantages. On the female side of the 
Colony a nurse was taught by the male 
instructor the wire-drawn branch of brush- 
making. She soon became competent to 
teach two of the female patients, who in 
their turn helped to teach others. There are 
now thirty girls continually employed in this 
branch of the trade. 

These girls also do the trepanned drawn 
brush work, for which their fingers are better 
adapted than are those of the boys, the 
material used being very fine, and drawn into 
the stock with silk thread. 

The same method was used for starting 
the bookbinding trade. A nurse was taught 
a branch of the trade, viz. sewing, also 
envelope, label, paper-bag and cardboard- 

box making. Thirty-three girls are now 
continually employed in this industry. 

Further work being required on the female 
side, it was decided to open a branch of the 
upholstering, so here, again, a nurse was taught 
mattress-making and upholstering, and she in 
turn now teaches seventeen girls, some of 
whom are making splendid progress. 

In a year or two, owing to the crowded 
state of the odd rooms used as male work- 
shops, and on account of the progress the 
patients were making in their various trades, 
it was decided that we were justified in asking 
for improved quarters. The Managers there- 
fore decided to erect male workshops at a 
cost of ^3000. After these shops were 
built the necessary equipment was made 
and fixed by patients. These shops, in turn 
are now found to be greatly overcrowded, 
and an extension will shortly be in hand 
which will give ample room for some time to 

The question then arose as to permanent 
shops for female patients, as the odd rooms 
in use were rapidly becoming crowded and in 
other ways inconvenient for ourgrowing needs. 
To meet our requirements the Managers 

decided to erect workrooms for females at a 
cost of ;£6ooo. 

These shops are perfect in every way for 
the purpose for which they are required. 
They consist of two large rooms for new 
needlework, with accommodation for 200 
patients, and a needle-room for repairs, seating 
120 patients, besides rooms for brush-making, 
bookbinding and mattress-making. The 
shops are covered with a weaver's roof with 
north-lights, and the windows are high up at 
the sides, so that the patients' attention is not 
taken from their work. The floors are wax 
polished, and the whole is heated by a system 
of hot-water pipes. All parts are easily 
accessible for cleaning, and the temperature 
of the shops is at all times perfect owing to 
the sound system of ventilation. 

These shops in their turn are already 
becoming overcrowded, and further room will 
be necessary in the near future. 

In the adult shops 830 patients are em- 
ployed (male and female). In 19 12, 109,580 
articles were made, and 90,096 articles were 

The value of the above work was £1 1,992 
16s. $d. Apart from goods consigned by 


rail, 1 30 motor van loads of goods, the weight 
of which was about 300 tons, were conveyed 
to our Central Stores in London for distribu- 
tion to our various institutions. 

The number of articles given above does 
not include printing, box-making, paper-bag 
making, envelope making, or wood bundling. 
The whole of these goods are consumed in 
the Metropolitan Asylums Board's own 

Advice to those commencing Industries. 

One of the chief points to be considered 
in commencing industries for the feeble- 
minded is the difficulty of finding a market 
for the output. If you make commercial 
articles such as brooms, baskets, tinware, 
fibre mats, etc., they must be of the best 
quality if they are to be acceptable to the 
accounting officer of another institution, and 
this is where the difficulties begin. 

In commencing these trades you are bound 
at the start to have articles turned out which 
are ill made, and, although quite suitable for 
the purpose for which they are produced, 
would not on account of this defect appeal 

to a possible consumer. This will involve a 
serious loss unless you can make use of the 
goods yourselves in your own institutions. 
We have been fortunate at Darenth in this 
respect, the Metropolitan Asylums Board 
controlling nearly sixty institutions, all of 
which are large consumers of the goods 
turned out. 

Before commencing an industry it is essen- 
tial to find out if there will be a demand for 
the goods when made, and whether materials 
can be purchased with which to do the work. 
As an example : 

If bookbinding is carried on, the printed 
matter for wages, bedding, clothing, require- 
ment and other quarterly books must be 
supplied. Manuscript and " please supply " 
books are always in demand ; but in time it 
will be found that more work will be produced 
that can be consumed, and as the prices for 
these goods are cut very fine the question 
arises, can these goods be transferred to con- 
sumers at a remunerative price ? 

With regard to fancy work, you are in a 
better position for disposing of the goods, 
and fancy baskets, wool rugs, collar, glove 
and handkerchief boxes and fancy articles 


made in the brush, bookbinders' and car- 
penters' shops find a ready sale at bazaars, etc. 

If expense is no hindrance, then every 
class of trade can be attempted ; but if, as at 
Darenth, a strict profit and loss account is 
kept and a strictly business basis laid down, 
one would certainly hesitate before under- 
taking trades in which a considerable amount 
of money can easily be wasted. 

It is the business footing upon which we 
work which has been such a great help to us 
in building up our working colony at Darenth. 
Given good conscientious trainers and a 
market for the goods, the change, bustle and 
business-like methods of packing and de- 
spatching the goods will be found to appeal 
to the patients and to encourage them to 
take a great interest in their work. Let the 
boys and girls know what orders are in hand, 
where the goods are going to, when they are 
required, and the need of despatching them 
in good condition. Also let them see the 
unpleasantness of having articles returned as 
unsatisfactory. Many of the patients are 
quite as keen as the trainers themselves, and 
the interest they take in getting goods ready 
to date, loading into the vans and sending 

1 1 

them away in sound condition is remarkable. 
Now I have said a good deal of the difficulties 
of commencing these industries, and that they 
are many is only too true ; but apart from 
the financial aspect of the case there is a 
good deal to be said in favour of labour 
colonies for teaching the feeble-minded or 
imbeciles. Those who know what people of 
this class are can testify to the pleasure which 
a finished article produced for the first time 
gives them. To the feeble-minded patient 
it is an object-lesson that he is of some use 
in the world. It instils hope and encourages 
further effort. At Darenth, I am glad to say, 
the patient has to be very bad indeed before 
failure is written against him or her. In 
some cases quite two years have elapsed 
before a patient has made any attempt to 
work, and yet this patient ultimately has 
turned out to be a very useful worker. 

Never mind how small the part a patient 
may take in an industry, let him be encouraged 
to think he is doing the most important part 
and then he will surely make good progress. 
Encouragement is most necessary, and con- 
tinual attention and practical illustration 
must be given by the teacher or instructor. 


No matter how well the patient does the 
work, always let him understand that it can 
be done still better. I am afraid many a 
trainer talks over the patients' heads. He 
should not expect to bring the patients up to 
his own level, but should come down to that 
of the patients. He should teach the patient 
that the industry he is engaged on is all- 
important, that it is good for him to be busily 
employed, and send him to bed with a 
healthy tiredness. He is thus doing the 
patient the greatest possible kindness and is 
elevating him to the greatest possible extent, 
knowing as we all do the evil habits into 
which the feeble-minded fall if their time is 
not fully occupied. 

Another important point is to gain the 
confidence of your patients. In the event of 
difficulties occurring in their work they will 
then not be afraid to approach you. Other- 
wise, instead of letting you see their mistakes 
they will hide them. Rectification is then 
difficult and will result in a waste of valuable 

It may be asked whether it is better to 
teach the feeble-minded a trade throughout 
or a branch of a trade only. 


If you are going to undertake work to any 
great extent and you have a good supply of 
patients to fill your shops, I should recom- 
mend a branch only. By doing so you will 
make your shop a going concern much more 
quickly than by trying to teach the patients 
the whole of a trade, for with the majority of 
the boys and girls their minds become quite 
confused if you try to cram them, so for the 
greater number of your patients a branch 
only with as much variety as possible in that 
branch is better. 

In a very short time, by watching your 
patients it is easy to discover the boy or girl 
who is going to be generally useful. In 
order to single out the patients who are 
making progress this rule may be relaxed a 
little and the patients may be allowed to 
attempt some other work. The boy or girl 
who takes any interest in the worl^ will 
readily attempt some other branch, proving 
that he or she has the imitative faculty well 
developed. The lower type of patient will 
not on his own initiative try to do any other 
work than he has been accustomed fto. 

Tactful treatment of the feeble-minded is 
one of the most valuable assets for the teacher, 


while firmness, kindness and appreciation of 
their attempts, no matter how poor, are help- 
ful, and act as an incentive to the patient to 
try and do better. In the shop a little 
freedom must be allowed, and talking should 
be encouraged (provided it is about the work) 
rather than discouraged. It gives the patient 
the opportunity to criticise the work of others, 
and helps to remedy defects. Instructors 
will do well to take note of this fact. 

When starting fresh patients it is a good 
plan to place a boy or girl conversant with 
the work beside the new-comer. They can 
then be left alone and a certain amount of 
confidence placed in the older patient to 
teach the younger the initial steps of the 
trade, while you can from time to time 
tactfully supervise the whole. 

Changes and variety of any sort are 
hecesr>ary with these people, and it is ad- 
visable to change the class of article the 
patient is making from time to time. The 
patients making Scrubbing-brushes should be 
allowed to make shoe-brushes — the same 
class of wofk, but ii change in material and 

Waste is one cf the difficulties to contend 


with, and the patients should not be allowed 
easy access to the material, although in time 
they may be entrusted to handle it freely. 
With beginners it is necessary that all 
droppings and cuttings should be used before 
other materials are issued. This will en- 
courage the patients to make less waste, and 
they will soon learn that it is much easier to 
use material first hand than in a crippled 

One of the chief objections which people 
raise to starting some of the industries is the 
fact that formidable tools are required. Now 
in my opinion it is a great mistake to speak 
of danger or sharp tools, or to make a fuss 
in any way concerning these things before 
patients. Take the tools into the shop, 
commence to use them in the way they are 
intended to be used, and say nothing con- 
cerning danger, and very little trouble will 

It will be found that a large amount of 
the trainer's time is likely to be taken up in 
grinding, sharpening, or setting tools, which 
otherwise will have to be sent away to be 
done ; consequently it is sound policy to allow 
the patients to attempt the work for them- 


selves, even at the expense of a dozen or so 
plane irons or chisels which they will probably 
grind away while learning. The help which 
success in sharpening the tools means to 
trainers is very great, as it is obvious that the 
patients, while learning to use the tools, are not 
very particular to a nail or two or what 
obstacle they cut through. A great mistake 
often committed by the trainer who is new to 
this work is to encourage the patients in their 
work with small gifts. As the patients have not 
the power to reason any matter out they at once 
assume that any small gift to them will be 
repeated whenever they are given a job to 
do, and often when they fail to receive it 
they will sulk sometimes for days, and are 
quite likely to spoil the work upon which 
they are engaged. See that the patient 
receives what he is justly entitled to, but 
make no presents. I have known a patient 
to be given a small present on his birthday 
and promptly appear once a month or in less 
time with another birthday, hoping for the 
gift to be repeated, and sulk badly when he 
finds his request refused. The trainer will 
save himself a good deal of unpleasantness 
by strictly following the above advice. 


It is an accepted fact that the feeble-minded 
and imbecile do not combine sufficiently to 
plan either fun or mischief, yet an instance of 
combination for good occurred in our basket- 
making shop at one time. We were, at the 
invitation of the Local Government Board, 
exhibiting in the Educational Section of the 
Franco-British Exhibition. It was necessary, 
owing to the variety of the exhibits and to 
the interest which was taken by the public 
in our work, to have a man in daily attend- 
ance. For this purpose our basket-maker 
trainer was chosen, and consequently the 
shop was left for six months without the 
trainer. It might have seemed best to close 
the shop. This was not done, but the shop 
was opened as usual with an ordinary ward 
attendant in charge. Very seldom the same 
man was in charge two days together, and yet 
the patients actually made larger baskets than 
they had ever made before, and also made and 
repaired a greater number of articles than they 
had done during the previous six months. It 
seemed that these lads, without any direct 
agreement between themselves, felt that they 
should do their best during their trainer's 
absence. The foregoing appears to me to be 



an instance of combination for good among 
these people. 

In a shop containing forty to fifty girls or 
boys it may well be imagined that a trainer 
has a very busy time in carrying out his own 
work, supervising the work of the patients, 
and attending to each and every patient 
according to his or her temperament. The 
method of dealing with two patients is seldom 

In one case it may be necessary to bestow 
praise, and in another to be very chary of 
praising. One patient will work in fits and 
starts. Let him do so. He would, no doubt, 
promptly sulk if closer application to his work 
was expected of him. Deaf and dumb patients 
are full of suspicion ; others want approval of 
their work again and again. Holding up the 
thumb is sufficient to encourage them. They 
understand the meaning of this ; it is little 
trouble, and no greater praise is required. 

Some patients sulk because they have not 
heard from their friends. Others are always 
wanting letters to be written to their friends, 
with a list of many and varied requirements. 
In addition, some patients are always ready 
to quarrel. 


The above facts give a fair idea of the tact 
and firmness required by a trainer to carry 
him successfully through the day, for after all 
the patients are only children and must be 
treated as such. 

Mixed Grades in Workshops. 

When deciding which patients should be 
sent to the various shops, it should be borne 
in mind that when any industry is in full 
swing there is much dull and irksome work 
to be done, as well as more interesting and 
more advanced work. Now it will be very 
disheartening for bright and fairly intelligent 
patients to be kept continually doing irk- 
some work such as in the joiner's shop, 
ripping down timber, planing rough boards, 
etc., which is work that quite dull lads are 
capable of undertaking. Yet this work has 
to be done. So in picking the numbers to 
fill any shop, it is necessary to chose some of 
the brighter patients to be taught the more 
skilled work, and also a certain number of 
less intelligent patients to do the dull, 
uninteresting labour. Having a mixture of 
grades in every shop makes for success in 


another way. It causes rivalry amongst the 
patients themselves. Those who are con- 
tinually employed in preparing work for 
their brighter and more lucky fellow patients, 
after a time, wish to be promoted in the 
work they are doing, therefore they will 
always be on the lookout to try their hand 
at more advanced work. This will ulti- 
mately tend to improve their work all round. 
Brighter patients, too, seeing their juniors 
beginning to usurp their places, will strive 
with all their might to maintain their position 
of superiority, and consequently will be most 
thorough in all they do. 

The Training Staff. 

Few of those who have the opportunity of 
seeing the patients at their work realise the 
care, thought, and self-control required by 
those who have to teach the mentally 
deficient, if the teaching is to be done in 
a thorough aud conscientious manner. 

The beginner finds his task a great strain 
on his self-control. The apparent hopeless- 
ness of it all leads him to under-rate his own 
capabilities, and he is inclined to give up the 


undertaking before the result of his teaching 
is seen. 

Those in authority over the trainers should, 
therefore, extend to them in their work the 
same help and sympathy which the trainers 
are expected to give to those placed under 
their charge. If this is done it encourages 
the trainers to stick to their posts and to 
make fresh efforts with their pupils. 

Constant changes in the training staff are 
bad both for the industry and the patients. 

No two trainers' methods are alike. 

Changes generally entail making a new 
start in any industry. 

The following will perhaps be of interest to 
those who have the well-being of the mentally 
deficient in their minds : 

There are undoubtedly in our London 
workhouses a great number of mentally 
afflicted or feeble-minded people who would 
be better if under control in labour colonies. 

My experience has shown that the treat- 
ment adapted for teaching the feeble-minded 
and imbeciles would also be the best treat- 
ment for many of the inmates of workhouses. 

Consider the case of the ordinary able- 
bodied inmates 01 our workhouses. 


The larger number of these are the casual 
and unskilled labourers who, from one cause 
or another, have drifted into the house. 

After being interviewed by the House 
Committee, the task usually given to them is 
to break a certain quantity of stone, say 10 
cwt, or to grind, say, I o pecks of corn in a 
given time. 

What is the result ? 

Outside the house they are probably men 
who, if they had employment, would do as 
little as they could for their money and 
seldom stick to a job long enough to harden 
their hands. 

Faced with a compulsory task of 10 cwt. 
of stone to break, such a man has at least to 
make an attempt or be prosecuted for refus- 
ing to perform his allotted task. 

In the event of a prosecution he is probably 
awarded seven days' imprisonment, which he 
finds compares very favourably with his 
workhouse life. 

Upon returning to the workhouse, fre- 
quently the same day as he is discharged 
from prison, he is again given a similar task, 
but makes a poor attempt to perform it. He 
is again dealt with by the magistrate, and so 


on until he finally disgusts the workhouse 
officials. Probably he has been told that this 
will ultimately occur. 

Finally he is given a light task in the 
house and settles down to a fairly comfortable 

Another type is the artisan, who, owing to 
drink, illness, or a combination of both, has 
come into the house. 

He is probably given a week or so in 
which to recover and is then told he must go 

This he does, but without any means in 
his pocket to carry him over a day or two. 

Even if he had these means he would most 
likely drink them away. Upon his second 
entry into the house he is given a task of 
stone-breaking or corn-grinding similar to 
that given to the unskilled labourer ; this he 
promptly refuses to do, and when, as an alter- 
native, he is given a job at his own trade, he 
again refuses unless he is paid for his work. 

The larger number of the able-bodied 
inmates are of the foregoing types. 

These men, allowed to drift ultimately, 
become habitual " in-and-outs," though well 
able to work if properly controlled. 


If uncontrollable when out of the house 
they, either through lack of will-power, drink, 
gambling, or some other evil habit, will con- 
tinue to drift to the workhouse. 

Now, after two or three years of this life I 
consider that these men are irreclaimable. 

If they are to be a burden on the rates for 
the rest of their lives, would it not be better 
to employ them at more remunerative labour 
than breaking stones or grinding corn ? 

To carry out the above suggestion it would 
be necessary to appoint a man with a sound 
industrial training, able to teach many handi- 
crafts and to supervise the work. 

Here we get a further point of similarity 
between these people and the mentally deficient. 

A man who can issue an order, and also, if 
necessary, help to carry it out, will always 
command the respect of the feeble-minded 
and of such workhouse inmates. 

Tact is one of the most useful factors in 
dealing with both, and unless a man is firm, 
tactful, confident, and, above all, sympathetic, 
he is useless in getting work out of these 

All the talking in the world will not be of 
any avail, yet tactful encouragement will do 


more in one week than rougher methods will 
do in ten years. 

The method of dealing with each individual 
case varies, and only long experience will 
show the appropriate method to be adopted. 

The skilful workmanship of the teacher, 
and the correct method of dealing with the 
individual, are absolutely necessary to ensure 

From these remarks I think it can be seen 
that the problem of retaining and usefully 
employing these workhouse types is well 
worth studying. 

The dividing line between the habitual 
inmate of the workhouse and the feeble- 
minded is a very narrow one. Since I have 
been connected with asylums I have met 
three former able-bodied inmates as patients, 
and it is not rare to find relatives of others 
who are of the same class. 


I have written upon this subject because I 
am personally deeply interested in the wel- 
fare of these people. My thirty-two years' 
experience of the working classes has taught me 
that sentiment enters largely into their lives. 


If they realise that their mentally afflicted 
children will be sympathetically cared for in 
institutions and taught industries which will 
provide employment for their hands and 
exercise for their minds, they will not be, as 
now so often occurs, opposed to their children 
being placed under control. 

Such boys and girls will, under this system, 
lead happier and healthier lives than formerly, 
and cease to be a menace to those around 

In the ten years I have been at Darenth 
Industrial Colony I have seen a remarkable 
change for the better in the boys and girls 
resident in this institution. 

The discipline and method with which the 
administration of the institution is carried on 
has undoubtedly produced this improvement. 

On admission many of the inmates ap- 
peared to be hopeless subjects for a colony, 
yet I have seen these same boys and girls 
grow up wonderfully strengthened in body 
and in mind, and although they are not fitted 
to enter the industrial ranks outside the insti- 
tution, yet they have been taught that they 
are of some use in their own small world, 
even if that be only an Industrial Colony. 



The trades taught at Darenth Industrial 
Colony are : Carpentering, bookbinding (in- 
cluding cardboard-box, envelope- and paper- 
bag-making), brush-making, basket-making, 
shoe-making, mat-making (hand and loom), 
wodlrug-making, tinware and metal-plate 
work, tailoring, upholstering, printing, needle- 
work, stocking and linen-weaving, painting 
and decorating, building and outdoor work, 
wood-chopping and bundling, and also a 
number of side branches to the trades men- 
tioned above. 

Physical drill is used to improve the phy- 
sique of the patients capable of benefiting 
thereby in the evening after work, and has 
undoubtedly proved to be helpful in forming 
disciplined habits which are essential for their 

Taking the trades in the above order, I 
will endeavour to place before the teachers 


the chief points to be studied in commencing 
the various industries, and would also like to 
point out how helpful it will be found if the 
patients are allowed to assist in fitting up the 
shop in which it is intended they shall be 
employed. Their interest is stimulated and 
the cost of labour is considerably reduced. 

Carpenter's Shop. 

This industry appeals to every boy, and it 
is one of the most useful to teach them. If 
a ready market can be found for the articles 
made it is also possible to make the industry 
profitable. Fancy articles are no longer 
made at Darenth, those of real utility only 
being produced. Some of the boys who were 
first taught the trade at Darenth are now 
employed in making walnut and mahogany 
writing tables, ward tables in oak, birch, or 
bass, up to nine feet long, cot tables, and 
heavy furniture of nearly every description. 
Some boys are competent to set out their 
own work. Panelled doors, window-frames 
and sashes are also made. These results 
have been attained in less than seven years. 
When this industry was started seven years 


ago there was not a boy capable of telling 
how many inches there are in a foot. But 
it appears to be a class of work above all 
others for brightening and quickening a lad's 

It is much better, if possible, to have a 
number of the same articles to make, as the 
working out of a new design too often 
worries the boys very much, but, once started, 
they will imitate the first article in a satis- 
factory manner. 

The making of benches and such-like work 
appears to be the most suitable on which to 
start, and gives the patient an insight into 
the use of the hammer and saw. The cutting 
up of timber and driving in of nails appears 
to the patients as being a mild and pleasant 
form of exercise, but as they see the various 
articles being gradually completed they 
realise the possibility of doing better work. 

A morticing machine and turning lathe 
are required in this department. 

In teaching the trade I should like to lay 
stress on the need of employing, if possible, 
a thoroughly competent instructor, who will 
himself work as well as teach those under 
his care. It is only by practical illustration 


that this trade can be taught ; and, moreover, 
the boys appreciate an instructor who is able 
himself to use the tools in a workmanlike 
manner. This remark applies generally to 
instructors in all trades and industries. 

With regard to the patients engaged in 
this industry, it will be found that after some 
years they have improved physically, and 
also, to a certain extent, mentally. 

In this industry the trainer generally uses 
his own set of tools, and the tools necessary 
for the patients will be best chosen by the 
trainer. The tools should be of the very 
best quality. The equipment other than 
tools are : benches fitted with Climax bench- 
vices, a good morticing machine with full 
set of self-coring chisels, and with a drilling 
attachment, a good quality fine-cut grind- 
stone, and a supply of fine and coarse Indian 
oilstones. The timber used for joinery work 
should be of the best. It is impossible to 
execute sound work if unseasoned timber is 
used. To guard against this, it is policy to 
erect a sheltered timber store and to lay in a 
fair supply of selected hard woods of various 
kinds, which should be replenished as the 
stock is drawn from. For turning wood- 



work a small treadle lathe can be purchased 
for a few pounds, which will be found quite 
suitable for light work, but heavy goods, 
such as table legs, can be purchased already 

If power is obtainable for the lathe, then 
table legs and similar heavy work can be 
done. The lathe will then also be useful for 
the tinsmith to use for turning or spinning 
up saucepan and tea-can lids. Lids worked 
in this way are a great improvement on those 
shaped on the hollowing block. 

Bookbinding, Envelope and Box-making. 

This industry is suitable for both male 
and female patients. The work offers a 
large range, from the penny note-book to 
the commercial ledger. 

It is well for the trainer to remember that 
the difference in cost between " shoddy " 
and good work is so small that the greatest 
supervision is necessary. 

In an institution, manuscript books are 
always being used. This is the class of work 
with which to commence. If small note- 
books, one- or two-quire foolscap books 


(quarter-bound, marble sides and cut flush) 
are made, a finished article will be turned 
out in a very short time. This encourages 
the pupils. Later on, full cloth, limp or stiff 
covers can be tried, and so on to half-bound 
or full-bound leather work. There are 
several methods of sewing, and the trainer 
will no doubt teach that with which he is 
most conversant. If sewing presses are used 
it is advisable to make uprights adjustable 
to a fixed bench. A whole range can be 
provided in this way, and when not in use 
they can be dismantled and the bench used 
for other purposes. 

As the patients progress they will make 
very little use of the press, but will prefer 
other methods of sewing. 

One of the most difficult branches of this 
industry is the binding up of printed matter. 
Very great care must be exercised in stripping 
the work that the sections are placed in 
proper order, as an error afterwards dis- 
covered entails the entire re-stripping of the 
book and frequently renders it unfit for re- 
binding. The variety of colour in papers, 
cloths and leathers appeals to the patients, and 
they soon see the need of cleanliness to keep 

''■--■/ . . 

1:2. *• t 

M ^ 






, ** ^(B^ "^ 


: | 1 ■ 




1 >v 


' r ' 

m ; jA^ 



^'■-•-fv ! 


»:'? "«,. Jj 


; _-r 


. ♦ * 


■ .- 



>/ ' •T%iili8f i i Jl 





' V ...J 

*^r % M 



wm- s^sh 

i i 


"%■ ■::'"' "*"" 

M V 


, fv-;v;>x-, ;; ; %/!«;.. 

H ' 

^ '" % V 1 






1 U» 


* - ^- »» ' " »\ 



U ^L 

L " ^ '• 

1 -a 


HI : 




their work in good condition. Dirt is a great 
enemy to the bookbinder, consequently every 
help should be given to the patients in taking 
care of their work. 

The lettering and tooling on the backs and 
covers of the books is a very advanced branch 
of the work and one which requires much 
practice to become efficient in, but the finished 
appearance which these processes give to the 
book makes it worth while devoting con- 
siderable attention to them. 

Gold blocking is an interesting work and 
can be taught to the brightest boys. They 
must be able to read. When lettering books 
which are likely to have a short life, such as 
report, wages, and other half-yearly books, 
gold foil may be used, but for books which 
are intended to last, gold leaf is certainly 

The marbling to the edges of various books 
may be done with transfer marble paper. 
Other smaller work is stippled or splattered. 
This requires very careful handling, but it 
helps to provide variety in the shop. 

Strict regard to economical use of material 
must be practised in a binder's shop, other- 
wise waste results and expenses run up. The 



skins and cloths are very costly and should 
always be cut up to the best advantage. 

Offcuts of leather and cloths can be utilised 
for fancy work, such as blotting-pads, photo 
frames, fancy boxes, etc., including hoods for 
feather dusting brushes, which can be made 
in the brushmaker's shop. 

The chief tools required in a binder's shop 
are an efficient guillotine with 2 ft. 6 in. to 
3 ft. knife, a couple of standing presses, a 
gold blocking press with necessary brass type 
and rules, a backing press, two or three large 
glue-pots and the usual knives, scissors, bone- 
folders and other sundries. 

Envelope-making by simple methods is a 
very useful industry for boys and girls who 
are weakly. 

The chief tools required are a strong 
envelope-cutting press, and a series of knives 
or punches of the shape which is likely to be 
used. Sheet-lead is the best material upon 
which to cut. The only other tools required 
are small camel-hair brushes, bone-folders, and 
small circular tins to hold the gum used by 
each patient. 

Dextrine is the most suitable material for 
gumming. The paper is purchased by weight 


and may be obtained in any size, cut square, 
oblong, or angle, the last for commercial 

The size of the paper depends upon how 
many envelopes of the required pattern can 
be cut out of a sheet. 

Waste cuttings can be sold for a few- 
shillings per hundredweight. 

It will be found that if brooms, banister 
and shoe brushes are made in any great 
number, and are likely to remain in stock 
for any length of time, it will be best to box 
them up for two reasons : (i) to protect 
them from moth (which is very destructive 
to certain kinds of bristle) ; (2) to prevent 
the bristles becoming crippled (which is sure 
to happen if the goods are carelessly stored). 
Boxes suitable for this purpose can be made 
from strawboard, size 25 in. by 30 in. and 
16 oz. to the board. One hundredweight of 
strawboard will cut into sufficient pieces to 
make 448 broom boxes, which will cost, 
including paste and paper, or mull for the 
corners, about sixpence per dozen. 

The only tools required are a hardwood 
scoring board fitted with movable gauge 
(the cutting side of the gauge should be 


lined with brass), a short sharp knife, a pair 
of scissors, and a paste brush. Poor class 
patients can easily make boxes of this kind 
after a little practice. 

The protection given to the goods men- 
tioned above quite justifies the make and 
use of boxes of this description. 


This is a very interesting industry both 
for boys and girls. The variety of articles 
which can be made is very great. In the 
first place it is essential that a skilled crafts- 
man be engaged to teach the patients and to 
supervise their work. This industry may be 
divided into three branches : Wire-drawn, 
where the bristle, bass or fibre is drawn into 
the stock with wire ; set or pan work, where 
the bristle or bass is set into the stock with 
pitch ; finishing, which consists of glueing on 
the back and shaping the article. French 
polishing is also included in the latter branch. 
Set work requires most careful supervision by 
the trainer, as the material used in this work 
is very costly, some of the bristle costing as 
much as £$ 5 per cwt. The bristle should 


be purchased ready dressed and even size 
and not as imported, as with the latter more 
short bristle is likely to accumulate than can 
be used, and consequently a loss results. 

In set work it is important that the patient 
be taught to knock the bristle or bass down 
thoroughly and also to fan it with the thumb 
before dipping the knot into the pitch before 
tying. The hemp which is used for tying 
must be pulled very tight, as otherwise the 
centre of the knot drops out, and a bad 
broom results. 

Care should also be taken that the hemps 
used are not of too coarse a quality and not 
too long. 

The pitch should be obtained from the 
best makers. Soft as well as medium pitch 
should be stocked. This allows the trainer to 
humour his pans to suit the work in hand. 

Care must also be taken with the Bunsen 
burners under the pans. They must be care- 
fully adjusted so as to allow an even tem- 
perature, as overheated pitch becomes brittle 
when cold and is inclined to powder out after 
the broom or brush has been in use a short 

The flirting or whisking of a broom before 


trimming is an important matter, as any 
appearance of bristle falling out when the 
broom is taken into use gives a bad impres- 
sion to the user. This whisking also prevents 
waste of material, as the droppings can be 
re-dressed and used over again. To properly 
flirt a broom or brush before being put into 
use the article should be held over a box 
when the loose bristle is being knocked out. 

Bristle dressing and mixing is one of the 
most important branches of brush-making 
and well worth teaching. 

As an instance, soon after we commenced 
brushmaking at Darenth a bristle-dresser at 
30i\ per week had to be employed for quite 
twelve weeks in a year to dress up our waste 
bristle and bass. This work is now done 
entirely by the patients. This method has 
effected a great saving, especially as our out- 
put has increased very largely. 

The pan-benches should be made to seat 
six persons, as by so doing the pitch is used 
up more quickly and the supply in the pan 
is kept fresh and not so likely to burn. 

The following points are worth noting in 
connection with pan work : 

The pan should be heated up by the time 


the patients come into the shop and they 
must be watched when first lighted to see 
that they do not boil over. A wet sack and 
some sand should be kept at hand in case of 
an accident occurring, but this is not likely 
if the trainer is thoroughly conversant with 
his work. 

In teaching the wire-drawn work it is 
policy for learners to use cocoa-fibre or white 
Mexican fibre, as these materials are cheap 
and do not involve a great loss when wasted. 
As the patients make progress they may use 
bassine and Bahia union. This material 
makes up into a very useful scrubbing-brush, 
although pure bass or monkey bass should 
be used if the best quality article is required. 
I would advise brass union wire being used at 
all times for any brush or broom which is 
likely to be used in water, especially those 
which are required to last a long time. Iron 
wire quickly rusts and the knots rub out. 

Boards and stocks of all kinds can be 
purchased already bored, but when possible 
it is policy to purchase unbored stocks and 
boards. With a treadle boring-lathe these 
can be pierced. By doing this an addition to 
the industry is effected. 


The shaping of the brush is an important 
work, and a very unwieldy instrument called 
a bench knife is used for this purpose. A 
good deal of practice is necessary to become 
proficient in the use of this tool. The bench 
to which the knife is fixed should be stoutly 
made and well fastened to the floor, as the 
strain on the bench is very great. The top 
should be of oak quite 4 in. thick, and the 
part upon which the knife cuts should be 
made to screw on in the form of a block so 
that when one side is worn the block can be 
reversed, otherwise the whole top of the 
bench will have to be renewed. 

The remaining tools necessary in the 
drawn and finishing work branch are as fol- 
lows : In finishing, 30 lb. parallel bench 
vices for drawing, a number of 7 lb. parallel 
bench vices, spokeshaves with 2 in. and 4 in. 
irons, good quality screw-drivers, a bass and 
fibre-cutting knife and gauge, bench and hand 
shears, a couple of large size glue-pots and a 
gross or two of glueing screws, which are used 
for fixing the back on the brush and holding 
it there until it is quite dry. As four of 
these screws are needed for each pair of 
brushes a large number will be required. 



Brush-making is recommended for be- 
ginners. The variety of brushes is so great 
and so many small jobs can be found for 
learners that they can be given jobs right 
away, such as glass-papering, tacking and 
branding, and whilst doing these jobs they 
are able to watch the more advanced branches. 
Although it may not be perceptible, they are 
gathering knowledge, and it is often found 
that a lad has a very fair insight into the 
work when he is given the opportunity to 
try his hand at more advanced lessons. 

The girls are more economical than boys 
at drawn work, especially at the lighter work, 
such as hair-brushes. Their fingers become 
very sensitive, and they are able to judge the 
quantity of bristle required with hardly any 
trace of waste. 

The polishing of the brushes is a very im- 
portant part of the finishing, and unless this 
is properly done, no matter how good the 
material is, the brush does not look a first- 
class article. 

Absolute method is necessary in the daily 
work of a brush-making shop. By noon each 
day a supply of wire-drawn brushes should 
be ready for the boys working at the glueing 


bench, as otherwise these boys will have 
nothing to do during the afternoon. 

After the backs are glued and clamped on 
to the brushes they should be carefully stacked 
away ready for unclamping as soon as work 
begins next morning. 

The brushes glued up overnight form the 
work for the finishers next day. By this 
means everybody is kept employed. 

One pair of large bench shears should be 
fitted up for each bench of six boys, who 
should be taught to do their own trimming. 
This is quite possible if an adjustable cutting 
gauge is fixed upon the shears, the gauge, of 
course, being set to length by the trainer. 
But even the adjustment of the gauge the 
patients will learn in time. 


This is very interesting work for boys. It 
is divided into two classes, i. e. fancy and 

The fancy work is much the best for 
beginners. The material is lighter and 
more flexible than that of commercial work 
and can be used over again if the work has 

ass ' : 


to be pulled to pieces, whereas for the 
heavier baskets the material is spoiled once 
it is used. The methods of weaving fancy 
baskets give the patients a good idea of the 
weaving necessary in the commercial branch. 

In the heavier work, laundry or oval- 
shaped baskets are the best suited for 
beginners. The building up of square 
corners to a basket or any work entailing 
fine lines needs a good deal of practice, and 
I would advise trainers to avoid this class of 
work until progress has been made in weav- 
ing less important baskets. A good deal of 
floor space is necessary in a basket shop as 
otherwise there will be no room for fixing 
the side stakes in the slarth or bottom of 
the basket, which with the stakes sometimes 
extends to twelve or fourteen feet, before 
the upset is made. 

The manufacture of buff wicker, glossy, 
and flat cane chairs form an interesting 
addition to the basket-making, but these 
chairs form a much more advanced branch. 

Cane-seat weaving is good practice for 
smaller lads, and exercises their minds. 

A strong iron tank at least 9 ft. by 3 ft. 
by 3 ft. is necessary for soaking the rods. 


The water-supply tap should be at one end 
of the tank and the waste or emptying outlet 
at the other. To the waste plug a strong 
ring or chain should be attached as it is 
necessary to change the water at least twice 
a week, otherwise it becomes foetid. On 
each occasion the tank should be scrubbed 

It is advisable to use English rods or 
osiers if obtainable, as they are by far the 
best, but of late it has been very difficult 
to obtain these. Fortunately, African as 
well as Belgian and French rods can now be 
obtained. The African rods are of very 
good quality though rather more wasteful 
owing to their length. 

Straw plait, plaited rush, and enamelled 
cane in many colours can also be bought 
and add greatly to the variety of the work. 
The equipment used in basket-making is not 
costly, and consists for each boy of a strong 
match-boarded slope about 6 ft. by i ft. 9 in. 
with a back rest attached and a small slope 
3 ft. by 1 ft. 9 in. Best quality 8 in. and 
10 in. shears with spring attachment, picking 
knife, shop knife, bodkin, iron beater, mallet, 
tenon saw, and a few other sundries are also 


required. The boys need strong fingers and 
wrists for the heavy work, and until they 
develop these the work is very tiring. Pick- 
ing and trimming the basket requires much 

The method of using basket-makers' knives 
is dangerous and great care should be 

Always remember that bad rods or osiers 
will discourage a beginner in an industry 
which presents difficulties enough already. 

Galvanised iron fittings of all kinds, in- 
cluding bolts, nuts, and washers, can be 
obtained for the use of basket-makers. Black 
iron should never be used owing to the rust. 

It will be found that a considerable 
quantity of work can be done for the basket 
shop by the patients in the carpenter's shop, 
such as wood frames for fancy chairs, bottoms 
for fancy baskets, and basket battens of all 
kinds. For the latter it will be found that 
odds and ends of timber, of no further use in 
the carpenter's shop, can be used. Generally 
it will be found that the offcuts from one 
industry will work in for another. 

If a profit and loss account is kept a small 
adjustment can be made at the end of the 

4 6 

half year between the various industries, a 
note being made at the time of transfer by 
the trainer. 

It is necessary that the basket-maker 
trainer be at his shop early in the morning 
to soak the rods in the tank ready for the 
day's work, otherwise great delay is expe- 
rienced in getting to work when the patients 

Shoe-making and Repairing. 

This trade is usually taught in an institu- 
tion, and in all cases the results have proved 
it to be a satisfactory one. At Darenth the 
work is carried out on a large scale. A high 
class of boot is not aimed at, but rather one 
for general utility and wearing qualities. 
Boots suitable both for male and female 
patients are made. 

Formerly rivetted boots were chiefly made, 
but a Blake's sewing machine has been pur- 
chased, and a considerable amount of work is 
now done with this machine. Some of the 
patients are able to control the machine 
themselves. Patients have been taught to 
use Singer's or Bradbury's closing machines 


and have attained proficiency. Several of 
these machines are in use, and the patients 
are now able to do all patching and toe- 
capping, which is a very considerable under- 
taking in an institution containing 2000 
inmates. Repairs from other institutions are 
also executed. The stripping and patching 
is the beginner's first work. There is, of 
course, the risk of spoiling the upper when 
cutting round the sole, and a considerable 
amount of teaching is necessary before a 
patient can be entrusted with this work. 

At Darenth, on an average, 800 pairs of 
new boots are made and 13,000 pairs are 
repaired annually. 

Fibre Mat Making. 

This industry is well worth undertaking. 
The trade is most suitable for males, as the 
work is very hard and rough for the hands. 

The work at first sight appears to be very 
simple, but this is misleading, as considerable 
skill is required, which can only be obtained 
by practice. 

The equipment is simple, and can be made 
by any carpenter. It consists of a stout 

4 8 

frame and clamp made adjustable with bolts, 
plates and nuts, a hardwood slide, a hammer, 
and a strong pair of bent shears. A mat- 
maker's needle and palm are also required 
for sewing on the border. 

The " stringing " of the frame is the first 
and most important part of the work, as the 
finish of the mat depends a good deal upon 
this. The strings must be absolutely tight 
before any attempt is made to build up the 
mat. In the " thrumming" or " building up" 
of the mats the patient is likely to use the 
hammer more than is necessary, with the 
result that some strings are broken. It is 
better, however, to err in this direction than 
to have a loose mat, as the strings can be 
repaired if broken. After some practice the 
hammer will be used in a proper manner, and 
a good mat will result. The great difficulty 
for beginners is to keep the correct measure- 
ments. If these are not kept a tendency to 
" spread " or " draw " will certainly be found. 
A part of the work which the girls can under- 
take is the plaiting for the bordering, but the 
sewing on of the plait is heavy work, and 
should be done by the boys. The same kind 
of plait can be used in making skeleton mats 


and the curbs for scrubbing kneelers. The 
fibre kneelers are very useful in institutions 
where much scrubbing is done, as they are 
soft for the knees and the curb prevents the 
dress from getting wet. They can easily be 
dried when not in use. 

In the shop at Darenth we make rope and 
fibre " fend-offs " for the River Ambulance 
Service. This is very intricate work for 
beginners, but our boys have mastered it. 

Another useful branch is coal-sack making. 
The flax sacking is purchased in rolls of about 
eighty yards in length, and is dressed with 
hot Stockholm tar. It is then cut up into 
suitable lengths, and, when completed, a tin 
ticket stamped " I cwt." or " 2 cwts." is fixed 
on it. 

Coloured and white mops also can be 
made. Brussels wool or yarn is used. The 
wool is carefully cut up and weighed to ensure 
a uniform size. It is then tied up in a certain 
manner and the 6-in. galvanised mop nail 
passed through the wool with a leather top 
and bottom. The mop is then shaken out 
and trimmed. Old machine belting and 
odd pieces of leather from the shoe-shop 
can be used for tops and bottoms, the pieces 




being shaped with a i|- in. circular leather 

All the offcuts of the wool up to a certain 
length are used for wool mats, and the short 
cuttings unsuitable for mats are put through 
the carding-machine and used in the uphol- 
sterer's shop for stuffing cushions and backs 
of wicker chairs. 

Two four-quarter mat-making looms have 
recently been installed at Darenth and a really 
splendid mat is now being made. The 3 ft. 
by 2 ft. mats made on these looms equal, if 
not excel in appearance, the frame-made mat 
of the same size. They are more even in 
texture and yet are 3 lb. lighter. 

Wool-bordered mats can also be made 
upon these looms. This is a more advanced 
stage of work which will be reached in time. 
When purchasing yarn, be sure to obtain the 
best for stringing. This quality of Ceylon 
fibre yarn is usually obtained in dholls, but 
the yarn for the body of the mat is in bales 
of about 300 lb. each and costs about 18s. 
per cwt. ; the better class costs 2$s. per cwt. 
Loose fibre for wool-bordered mats is pur- 
chased in " ballots," and is, of course, cheaper 
than the yarn. 


Fibre yarns dyed in a variety of shades are 
obtainable at a little extra cost, and with 
these colours, designs, lettering and borders 
can be worked into the mats. 

The waste fibre from mat-making is used 
by nurserymen in which to strike bulbs. 

Wool-rug Making. 

This is a very suitable occupation for 
feeble or weak patients, both male and female, 
but it is necessary that they should be able 
to count and also judge colours if they are to 
be taught to work out a design. 

It is work that appeals to the boys and 
girls owing to the bright colours, and they 
take a delight in seeing a rug develop under 
their hands. 

In working pattern or design rugs the 
pattern, worked out to scale one-half or 
quarter size, is given to the instructor and 
one quarter of the pattern is worked on the 
canvas. This is copied by the patients on 
the opposite corner, and the half when com- 
pleted is copied on to the remaining portion. 
The filling in between the designs can then 


be done by beginners. This is a very good 
exercise indeed for the mind. 

From experience I find that rugs should 
be made very full. They should be trimmed 
fairly close so as to throw the design up 

It is a strange fact that the girls are much 
better than the boys in sorting wool. Waste 
wool, as bought, is delivered in large rough 
knots, and a bundle may consist of twenty 
various shades ; but the boys are not able to 
distinguish the shades easily, and quickly get 
disheartened if they have much of this work 
to do. On the other hand, the boys will work 
out a design much better and quicker than 
the girls. 

There is a large choice of wools on the 
market, but all are expensive. If waste wool 
is purchased one finds that quite 50 per cent, 
is unsuitable for use owing to the great variety 
of tints supplied in small quantities, and these 
are difficult to work in unless they can be 
used for coloured mops or small slip mats. 
Good quality bent shears are required for 
trimming the wool rugs. This work is very 
tiring and is best done by the boys. 



This is a very interesting industry, but 
the boys must be carefully chosen for this 
work, as it is very trying. The noise and 
din are objectionable to beginners. 

The preparation of patterns for the various 
articles of tinware is an intricate work, and 
requires the services of a first-class instructor, 
but once the patterns are prepared the boys 
will readily lay them on and cut out from 
the tin sheet to the best advantage. 

It is very important to remember that it 
is much easier to cut from a large piece of 
tin than from a small piece, and if the boys 
have access to your stock they will quickly 
take a new sheet of tin to cut from, instead 
of using small ofifcuts which are just as suit- 
able for their purpose. 

The trainer should keep the stock under 
his own control and issue only what is 
actually required. 

Small work, such as funnels, custard-, bread- 
and cake-tins, bedcard holders and dustpans, 
are the best articles to commence with. 

Repairs in an institution provide plenty 
of work for tin-smiths, and this affords good 


practice for the boys in the use of the 
soldering-iron — a very difficult tool to master. 
A badly soldered article is very unsightly. 

It is also very necessary that the right 
gauge of tin-plate be used for the various 
articles. The trainer should give this matter 
strict attention. 

The tools necessary for this work are fairly 
costly, and it is good policy to purchase the 
best quality. 

The tin-plate is supplied by the box, except 
in the case of large sizes, which are supplied 
by weight. The size and gauge of the sheet 
required should be stated when ordering. 
Always order stock sizes when possible. 

The results from this industry will prove 
very discouraging for the first year or two, 
but after this the patients will improve and 
good progress be made. Do not expect too 
much in the early stages. 

The chief tools required are : Soldering 
irons, with foot-print handles ; complete set 
of mallets ; hammers — paning, creasing, 
hollowing, planishing, rivetting, square, round 
face ; stakes — hatchet, funnel, extinguisher, 
half-moon, side, creasing, canister ; tinman's 
horse and set of leads ; bick iron ; elm 


hollowing block ; square and straight edge ; 
jenny ; bending rollers, about 36 in.; folding 
machine ; pliers (various) ; punches (solid, 
various sizes ; hollow, various sizes) ; rivet 
sets (various sizes) ; compasses ; 2 -ft. steel 
rule ; chisels ; stock shears and snips ; cast- 
iron mandrils ; spout mandrils ; strong leg 
vice ; tinman's gas stove. 

In addition to the above there are a 
number of tools and machines which a 
practical tin-smith will make up for himself 
at very little cost. 

The replacement of tools is small except 
in the case of copper bits and hollow punches. 

Metal plate and bent ironwork are useful 
additions to a tin-smith shop, and help to pro- 
vide a variety of work for the patients. Useful 
articles, such as fire - screens, finger-plates, 
hearth curbs, crumb-trays, etc., in copper or 
brass, are easily made after a little practice. 

For beginners it is best to work the design 
up from the face, and afterwards, as the 
patients make progress, the pitch-block may 
be introduced and more advanced work 
attempted. Complete outfits of tools for 
bent iron and repousse work are obtainable 
at very reasonable prices. 


Tailor's Shop. 

This is a most useful industry, and, apart 
from the repairing, a most difficult one to 

It is improbable that a patient will ever 
make sufficient progress to become a cutter, 
but a good number of patients can make 
trousers and vests, and a few a suit throughout. 

Canvas bags and bed sackings, jean and 
duck overalls and a lot of other small articles 
can be readily made, and all prove very use- 
ful in providing varied work for the patients. 

Repairs provide the bulk of the work, and 
in any institution sufficient work of this kind 
can be found. 

This trade is suitable for weakly lads and 
epileptics as there is no great danger of falling. 
Some boys have spent quite two years in this 
shop before they can do even small repairs. 
This is a very profitable and useful industry, 
and in one year 2788 new articles were made 
and 11,459 were repaired. 

Upholstering", Mattress-making-, etc. 

The actual upholstering of a chair or couch 
is a most difficult and intricate undertaking, 


and a considerable amount of teaching would 
be required before a boy would be competent 
to undertake this advanced branch of the 
trade. There is, however, a great amount of 
work in the shop with which patients can 
assist, and by doing so gain a good insight 
into the industry. Stripping of furniture to 
be re-upholstered teaches the proper use of 
the mallet and stripping chisel and also the 
use of the hands. 

This portion of the work must be done 
well, as all nails and tacks have to be removed 
and care must be exercised so as not to split 
the wood. 

The cleaning of the articles during re- 
stuffing can also be undertaken. The patients 
can also be employed to hand tools and 
material to the trainer, in " teasing " hair and 
wool ; and as they improve they can actually 
help in tacking on the gimp, studding the 
banding or sewing on cording, and, in fact, 
with all light work requiring patience and care. 

In an institution mattresses and pillows 
constantly require re-making. This provides 
ample work in stripping mattresses and pass- 
ing the hair through the carding-machine or 
" teasing " it by hand. 


New mattresses can be made throughout 
by patients after a few months' teaching and 
proves very interesting work. Stuffed backs 
and cushions for upholstering wicker chairs 
made in the basket-shop may be prepared, 
but paper patterns should be cut to suit each 
chair, as it will be found that no two chairs 
are quite alike. The backs and cushions may 
be either sewn to the chair or tied on for 
easy removal. 

Hassocks can easily be made, and if it is 
essential that a number be exact to size, the 
best method is to to make a box minus one 
end, the lid being hinged to one side. When 
closed, the lid should be secured with two 
cabin hooks and eyes. 

The inside of the box should be the 
measurement of the outside of the hassock. 

Place the cover inside the box, secure the 
lid, and fill tightly with stuffing. 

Articles made in this manner are uniform 
and will retain their shape. I have described 
this method minutely, since it ensures turning 
out a good-shaped article. 

Waterproof aprons for laundry work and 
waterproof bibs for epileptics may also be 
made in this department. 


A good strong machine is necessary for 
machining ticks, which will also do for 
machining tapestry used in upholstering. 
Staining and French-polishing may also be 
taught in connection with this industry and 
forms a useful branch of the trade. 


" This is a great and intricate industry. 

We are hoping in the near future to 

be able to reduce considerably our stationery 

bill by having, as a going concern, a printing 

industry of our own." 

The above is an extract taken from a 
paper which I had the pleasure (at the 
invitation of Miss Kirby) of reading at 
Denison House, Vauxhall Bridge Road. At 
Darenth we were then hoping to fit up a 
shop for this industry, an undertaking which, 
as can be seen from what follows, is now an 
accomplished fact : 

We have now in use in our printing shop 
three crown folio platen printing machines 
driven by power obtained from a 17 h.p. 
gas engine, which also drives the sawmill. 
In addition, there is one foolscap folio 


machine, a guillotine, perforating and relief 
stamping machines, and a small stereo plant 
for casting type. During the year 1 9 1 2 we 
printed nearly 1,000,000 forms of various 
kinds, and also printed and bound 1000 
service books of seventy-four pages for use 
in the Institution Chapel. 

The boys can put up any job which is 
required for the Board's use. One lad in 
particular, who can neither read nor write, 
is by far the best compositor. He will put 
up a job nearly perfectly. He works best 
from printed copy, but he is now beginning 
to work from manuscript. Several of the 
boys can also put these jobs into chases. 
Four of the boys can each print off from 800 
to 1000 copies per hour. Several other boys 
are speedily becoming equally proficient, and 
at the end of the day they will clean up their 
machines in quite a workmanlike manner. 

Linen label making and printing, also relief 
stamping, is largely done in this shop. 

In the face of the foregoing, what industry 
can be considered hopeless for these people 
to undertake ? 

The installing of a printing plant is a 
costly experiment, but is well worth the 


venture, as the educational advantages for 
the patients are so great. 

Independent expert advice is necessary in 
equipping a printing shop. In this respect 
we at Darenth were fortunate in having 
the assistance of a gentleman who is 
thoroughly conversant with the business. 
With his help undoubtedly a good deal of 
unnecessary expense was avoided. 


This, of course, is purely women's work 
and most useful for girls. The ordinary 
feeble-minded girl will soon learn to do a little 
repairing and in time plain sewing. 

The ordinary repairing of linen and cloth- 
ing in an institution is an important matter 
and one on which a great deal of money can 
be spent, and although not so showy as other 
work it is both useful and profitable. 

The amount of plain new needlework 
required in an institution of any size is 
remarkable, and this is work that the 
advanced pupils can well do. 

At Darenth there are employed on new 
work 142 patients; in the repairing-room, 


1 1 7 patients ; and in the teaching needle- 
room, 45 patients. In 19 12, 50,000 articles 
were made and 64,500 articles were repaired. 
64 sewing-machines, 2 buttonhole-machines 
and 7 stocking-machines are also entirely- 
worked by patients in these rooms. The goods 
made are sent direct to the institution requiring 
them or to our central stores for distribution. 

House-painting and Decorating. 

This is a profitable and useful work for 
boys in an institution, and one or two pupils 
put with a good trainer will in a short time 
prove useful in cleaning and preparing work 
for painting, washing off distempered ceilings, 
or stripping, rubbing down and preparing 
walls for re-papering. 

The risk of accidents is great, and it is 
necessary to carefully choose your boys and 
make sure that epileptics are not allowed on 
ladders or scaffolds. 

At Darenth there is a party of about six- 
teen boys engaged in this work who have 
recently painted a large ward throughout. 
The value of the work was £180, and it 


compares favourably with similar work done 
by a contractor. 

Work to the value of ^500 has been exe- 
cuted by the boys with one trainer in a year. 

These lads also do the staining, varnishing, 
French and wax polishing of articles made 
in the carpenter's shop. 

Building and Outdoor Work. 

It will be found that a number of boys are 
best suited for outdoor work — strong robust 
lads, who resent close confinement in shops. 
These are lads who will prove useful on the 
farm, in the garden, and in building work. 
It is hardly necessary to give details con- 
cerning farm and garden work, but a few 
words may be said about building. 

In an institution a staff bricklayer is 
usually kept, and small extensions and 
alterations are frequently required. An 
intelligent artisan, with the help of six or 
eight boys, can readily undertake such work. 
The boys are first taught to excavate ground, 
to mix and carry concrete, to make mortar, 
and to do other little jobs incidental to 
building work. Later on, the boys can help 

6 4 

to flush up walls, to back up or fill in walls, 
to rake out the joints, and assist in pointing 
the brickwork. All this kind of work is 
beneficial to their development. Bricklaying 
can be taught most easily to lads from 
fourteen to sixteen years of age. Older lads 
are not so likely to be interested ; they are 
not so amenable to advice, but are more 
suited for the labouring portion of the work. 

Working in the open air benefits them, and 
leaves them healthily tired at night, while 
seeing the building grow up with their 
assistance encourages them to greater efforts. 

In an institution of any size it will be 
found that the upkeep of the roads is a 
considerable item of expenditure. Here the 
strong, sturdy lads may prove useful. Tar 
painting of roads has of late years been 
largely adopted. If the roads are taken in 
time they may be made nearly indestructible 
at very little cost by the use of patient- 

The equipment necessary for executing 
this work consists of a good quality eighty- 
gallon tar copper on wheels, with a 2-in. 
draw-off cock as near the bottom of the 
copper as possible, a supply of strong bass- 


brooms for sweeping off the roads, and some 
12-in. cocoa-fibre wire-drawn brooms with 
which to lay the tar. 

It is most important that the surface be 
swept quite free of dust before the first coat 
of tar is brushed on, and so with each coat 
of tar following. 

A party of a dozen boys will cover a large 
area of ground in fine weather, and though 
the work is rather dirty it is healthy. 

Wood-chopping and Bundling. 

This is an industry fairly easy for patients 
to attempt, and is profitable if there is a good 
demand for your output. 

Old timber should be purchased where 
possible; failing that, deal ends, which can 
be purchased by the fathom. 

Deal ends are more difficult to procure 
each year owing to the great demand for 
this timber for box making. 

The alternative is cord-wood, but the 
economy of purchasing this kind of timber 
depends a good deal upon the district in 
which your wood-chopping is likely to be done. 

There are good serviceable bundling 



machines on the market costing about £$> 
or a more simple machine can be made for 
a few shillings. This latter machine is 
generally used in workhouses. 

If wood-chopping is done to any great 
extent the man in charge should learn to 
sharpen and set his saws, as here, again, the 
cost is great if they have to be attended to 

The filling up of the tied string and keying 
the bundles up with a mallet in the old- 
fashioned way is the easiest method for 

At Darenth the opportunity for the dis- 
posal of our output is unique, as we supply 
all our other institutions. About thirty-three 
boys are employed and are making about 
300,000 bundles a year. 


for Feeble Minded. 




K fl gfflB j SB